Migration of Fitbit accounts to Google: Forced hostile takeover or Collaborative integration?

Migration of Fitbit accounts to Google: Forced hostile takeover or Collaborative integration?


Fitbit was acquired by Google; starting the process in 2019 and completing its assimilation in 2021. This acquisition was in whole, allowing Google to access the hardware, software and user data amassed by Fitbit since its inception in 2007.

The reason for this acquisition is two-fold: Firstly, Fitbit has been a sinking ship since 2015, losing over USD $100M annually. It is almost chilling to note that it has not seen a year of profit since then till its acquisition. Secondly, Google's agenda is to further innovation in the health and wearables space. It already has a WearOS and smartwatch category which aims to compete with the Apple Watch - and this strategic move would bolster their footing in the space.

Throughout the takeover process, Google has been in the talks with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and European Commission. There was a full-scale probe by the EU into Google's intention on gathering more data. There is obvious concerns with leaking of health data into other parts of Google, especially the targeted advertisements (Adsense) that is integrated across their ecosystem.

It seems that now there is a migration towards integration of all accounts data. I recently received a push that the Fitbit account that I have needs to be migrated into a Google account. To assure users, Google has made a commitment with global regulators to keep all fitness data from Fitbit separate for the next ten years at least. (I'll go into detail about this down below if you want to read more).

At this point, Google has stated that all existing Fitbit users need to migrate or combine their account into a Google Account by 2025. I for one, have embraced our new digital overlords. 🤣 Please do not burn me on the stake when a sentient AI has taken over the world!

In this article, I will cover several topics - firstly, how to do the migration. Then, the pros and cons of migration and finally some final details about how you can be responsible with your personal data.

Steps for account migration from Fitbit to Google

1 - Starting the process

To begin the series of guided steps, go to the Fitbit app on your mobile device. Then access the settings menu ⚙️. You should see this menu pop up:

settings and move account button in Fitbit app
click where the blue arrow points!

2 - Review privacy info

Look into the summarized privacy info that is set out. To highlight here again, Google is not combining your health data from Fitbit into their ecosystem.

screenshots of google info for reviewing data privacy

3 - Settings and devices

Go through a series of guided steps, to review which Fitbit you want to move across (especially if you have multiple). Choose the google account which you want to migrate across - it can be the same one that you access Gmail from. Or you could set up a separate account, if you'd like to keep things separate.

guided three steps in fitbit migration

4 - Connect apps

Almost to the end here! In this final bit, you will need to check which apps are connected to Fitbit and Google. This means other tracking apps such as Strava, MyFitnessPal and so on. You can choose to remove connections from old apps that are not in use anymore.

A new initiative by Google is Health Connect by Android. What is this? Essentially, it is a unifying way for users to collate various health data across different devices into a central location in Android. This will be quite broad, ranging from blood pressure measurements from Bluetooth devices, to menstrual data and sleep amount. This means other platforms outside of Fitbit including Samsung Health, Google Fitbit can choose to join their data into Health Connect. (You can choose to set if it does not work in the other direction, though)

I think this is a good step forwards, where I don't want my data to get 'stuck' in various apps. It would be easy that Google sets standards for the data to be streamlined, with granular privacy controls.

set up connected apps to fitbit account

5 - Approve migration & optional research

In the final step, you can choose to read more about the finer details of the migration.

There is also an option for you to volunteer your data for health research. These go into the Google Health project that is a collaboration between engineers, scientists, clinicians and developers. I think this is awesome and look forwards to the creation of useful and beneficial AI that can further advancement in the healthcare space. The data here will be used in specific research projects - some of the partners in this wearables-health research space are Harvard and Mayo Clinic.

optional research opt-in

Benefits since acquisition

Fitbit for Android

Recently, I noticed a faster sync time for the Fitbit app. Usually the app would get stuck on syncing or take many attempts to get the data across. Now it gets done in less than a minute! That is a huge win for me.

I do like how the Fitbit Android app now picks up exercise and automatically links and shows the heart rate zones for my exercise. In fact, I find that the app picks up and combines Fitbit data in a smarter way. Just setting Fitbit exercise activities manually is not as robust as I don't get to see the combined heart rate zones throughout the activity. Google has done a lot of groundwork behind the scenes to set up data standards in the Health Connect space.

There are more hidden features that have been added since I last explored the app - this includes the ability to get an average of the past years sleep, heartrate variability and spo2 etc. Since data is now stored in a unified way, it is easier than before to get aggregations and summaries of data calculated.

summarized aggregated monthly sleep data
get summarized health data in Fitbit app now! This shows my hours of sleep across the months broken down by sleep stages.

Google Design influence

I also like how the UI is cleaner and more minimalistic. I know that a lot of people didn't like it and wanted a revert. I for one, prefer a simpler look and the ability to explore further features that are tucked away in the app.

The support pages are now integrated into a Google Helps format. I can say it has a clean look and design. Honestly, I have been using too many of their products (ie. Tensorflow, and Google Cloud) that it is almost too familiar a format for me. As the saying goes 'familiarity breeds contempt' 🤣?

It does obscure some information however, and oversimplifies to sacrifice details for readability. For example, I was looking at for specific updates that Google as done to the Fitbit app for android phones. From October 2022- Feb 2023, there were seven app updates going from version 3.69 to 3.75. But no actual details were released, and all we know is that some stability patches were done.

Google reported benefits in their blog :

  • Single Google login - having a single password to login to all the services they offer, ie. mail, calendar, tasks, etc.
  • Unifying foundation - initial step towards providing more value: I think this is true, once there is complete integration then we could see more cross-collaboration between different sections of Google. Usually that is where the magic happens, and I am optimistic for the future. It will probably take a while (1-2 years), so I'd temper my expectations for now.

Product strategic positioning

It seems that after the acquisition, Fitbit has stopped it sales in several APAC and EU countries. While there isn't an obvious reason given, I look at this as a consolidation and strategic manoeuvring by Google. Whether the eventual plan again is to funnel current and future users into the smartwatch category is something that remains to be seen.

Big Data and Analytics

I am really optimistic about this aspect of the takeover. Given that Google has a strong backing in machine learning and artificial intelligence research already - with Deepmind as one of its arms.

I do hope that Google Fitbit is able to tap into the rich and talented pool of research scientists that are employed by this big tech company. I mean, they are paid top dollar deservingly and I do not expect any less an environment where brilliant minds meet to eek out new innovative technology for Fitbit.

Google already has strong analytics infrastructure set up, with big data tools like 'BigQuery' and cloud processing. If Fitbit can tap into this and have a solid and reliable AI coach with fitness recommendations for the users, I think I would be more than happy.

Risks or potential downsides in migration process

Coming into a larger organisation means that there will be a lot more bureaucracy. My main worry is that Fitbit loses its nimbleness and ability to react quickly to changing consumer landscape. I do foresee that the whole process from this point onwards is going to take years. Getting the eventual unified adoption of Health Connect alone itself is years of work at this point.

It remains to be seen if Fitbit (now - Google Fitbit), can remain open to their customer comments. What I want to see if they are able to retain the ethos of the original Fitbit product - a minimalistic, long-life battery fitness tracker with durable hardware. Google has a strong background in the software side of things, though now they have started to claw their way into the mobile and smartwatch space with the Pixel series.

Looking through reddit, I do notice there is a recurring issue of durability in the Charge 5. This one was released during the Google takeover process - and I have seen reports of people burning through 2-3 of these in a year. It seems that there might be some hardware flaws that are not fully addressed in this series. Personally, the Fitbit Charge 4 has served me for more than three years so either I am a 'lucky' outlier case or there are deeper issues within the company that Google Fitbit needs to dig into.

Having all data on Google servers, could also expose users to platform risk. Say if there is a compromise of the servers, users could lose data across a range of areas from health to personal passwords etc. It is sort of a double-edged sword where I am sure they are well aware of this. And it is expected that state-of-the-art encryption and security is set up. So, do we entrust big-tech to keep all our data? No, we need to be equally responsible and play our part too!

Steps to be responsible about your personal data

  • Firstly, be educated about your rights to data protection and privacy. Know what is being shared and how to manage it.
  • Fitbit data is not shared across to other aspects of Google - we will need to review this again in 2031. I suspect there will be an eventual integration. Here are some other rights that you'll need to know:
    • There are control settings to enable or deny cross sharing to Google Maps, Google Assistant, etc.
    • Fitbit users have the right to access their own health data via the web API for free (learn how to do so here)
    • The Android ecosystem should remain open access and that Google maintains a public and accessible set of functionalities to other wearable manufacturers
  • Be wary that the data silo-ing is not the case in other parts of the ecosystem. Specifically, the Health Fitness aspect of Android. This feature allows cross sharing of fitness data (ie. steps) into Google Assistant and other parts of Google.
  • Be alert about this changing space - potentially sensitive aspects of health data would be the involvement of private insurers, healthcare organisations (ie. healthcare providers / hospitals), and cross-targeting from other ads platforms


In this article, I covered a set of key topics around the moving of Fitbit accounts to Google. In light of this move, personal data is one of the key contentions that users need to be made aware of. I have explained firstly how to complete the migration process. Then, both the pros and cons of migration are discussed with practical steps where users can take note.

Personally, I am positive and hopeful for the future in this space. I sincerely hope that Google can turn Fitbit around yet again into an innovative, simplistic and handy fitness wearable. Perhaps, this time around with the ingenuity of advanced artificial intelligence, precision tracking and smart reporting to users.

Additional resources

Introducing new APIs for health and fitness in Health Connect by Android
Health Connect is the central place for users to connect health and fitness app data on their mobile device. This session introduces the new Health Connect A…

Health Connect keynote

Press corner
Highlights, press releases and speeches

Google and EU commitment on Fitbit takeover

David Tang